How Do Private Clouds Affect the Data Center?

(Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine) – Cloud computing has been defined in many ways, but perhaps the most important way to look at the cloud today is to see it as a way to deliver the consumption of IT as a service. For companies that want to keep IT inside the security of their own data center, a private cloud strategy can give users the elasticity they need to respond to changing business needs quickly, cost effectively and in a way that can simplify IT management. But according to Logicalis (http://www.us.logicalis.com/), an international provider of integrated information and communications technology (ICT) solutions and services, there are important considerations for the data center when implementing a private cloud strategy to serve the needs of an IT-hungry business.

“The adoption of a cloud computing strategy can have far-reaching effects on a company’s IT operations. This is where true collaboration between executives, business unit managers and the data center operations team is an absolute necessity. Start by identifying the business challenges to be met. Then, examine the technology assets in place and the company’s financial goals and objectives,” says Kevin Gruneisen, vice president of data center solutions for Logicalis. “There will be pros and cons to every decision, and the effects on the data center and its ability to deliver price-performance to its users must be taken into account at every turn.”

Five Changes Private Clouds Bring to the Data Center

1. Lower Cost: Through an effective virtualization strategy and a resultant reduction in servers, data centers can reduce the amount of cabling, floor space, and power they consume by record amounts. On the flip side, virtualization is only the beginning of a journey into the cloud; systems also need to be able to dynamically provision IT resources as needed on-the-fly.

2. Less Control: Instead of having to over-buy to meet changing demands, the addition of a self-service portal above the orchestration level provides on-demand consumption, enabling the IT team, and designated end users, to spin up capacity as needed, thereby increasing business agility. But the idea of giving end users easy access to resource control leaves CIOs and other IT professionals nervously pacing the floor.

3. Increased Need for Automation: Imagine that a functional cloud environment looks something like an onion with traditional infrastructure at the center and a self-service layer around the outside. Between the resources and the self-service portal, there must be distinct layers for automation, monitoring and governance. Without automation, any savings gained through virtualization and self-provisioning is lost on the additional IT staff needed because there is no staff-on-demand option that will take effect just when you need it. Without monitoring and management tools in place, self-service provisioning could seem like the Wild West all over again.

4. Power & Cooling Changes: While a private cloud is responding to changing business demands on the front end, the back end of the cloud in the data center needs to be able to respond to changing demands for power and cooling. Servers that become virtualized require specific power and cooling needs. As private cloud features like self-provisioning are introduced, hot aisles may get hotter requiring more cooling in that region. Power consumption fluctuates when virtual machines are spun up and down and will require smart power distribution units (PDUs) that can monitor power and respond to changing demands.

5. New Visibility Requirements: With virtualization, self-provisioning and other cloud-enabled advances, it is now possible to develop applications that can right-size themselves dynamically according to pre-determined criteria. That’s great for new applications, and great news for IT departments. But there are still decisions that need to be made by a live person, so monitoring the data center in a private cloud environment is key. Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) tools should be deployed so the operations teams can actually see what is happening in the data center with regards to these changing computing capacity, power and cooling dynamics.

“Private clouds leverage the equipment and skills a company already has in its data center which makes them extremely cost-effective solutions for delivering IT as a service. But it’s also important to recognize that new tools may be needed to take full advantage of everything a private cloud has to offer,” says Gruneisen. “Automation and orchestration tools, properly implemented, are the key to moving from a virtualized environment to a private cloud. And knowing just what needs to be added or changed in the data center can only come from a thorough assessment of both the company’s business needs and IT’s ability to meet those needs.”

To learn more, visit Logicalis’ dedicated private cloud Web site here: http://www.us.logicalis.com/microsites/cloud-computing/private-cloud.aspx.

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